So, if you don’t already know what Yappie stands for, it is defined as “young Asian professionals who live the yuppie lifestyle”. Coined neatly by Wong Fu Productions, a YouTube channel best known for their numerous short films and sketches on topics like love, romance and it’s intertwining fate of loss, through the lenses of the ‘Asian American experience’.
With that term in mind, are we just naturally inclined to succumb to our innate nature as the ‘typical Asian’ in our obsession with materialism and financial success, which may or may not revolve around having a continental car, a decent condo, and a high-paying job that secures all the aforementioned assets? Or is there something more, beyond the demands of society, that we can achieve in our lives?
“Be a Doctor, a Lawyer, or an Engineer,” they said. “A high-paying job as a doctor or lawyer has traditionally been the career path..”
“Don’t study the Arts, I mean think about it, what is Literature going to help you with in your career?” “The music industry is not safe… You will struggle with your bills if you become an Artist!”
If we capitulate ourselves to the pressure that society has on us, where is the God-given individuality that is inherent in our very nature? The very idea, and sheer coincidence, that our fingerprints are one-of-a-kind presupposes a more cosmic approach to this: that we are not birthed to blindly conform to whatever the world thinks what is ‘best’ that we should be doing. But instead, we could perhaps take calculated risks to chase after the passions in our hearts, the very essence of life that drives the ’emotional human’ in us from the inside, meticulously carving and shaping to who we truly are. (And surely we are not meant to be subjected to the whims and fancies of society, to be molded and beaten, in all rigidity, into what they think is the best or great for us.)
While a discernible amount of the liberal pursuit of our passions is markedly evident in society today, we are still blindly influenced to follow in the footsteps of our economy – the fast-paced, unrelenting first-class economy that accepts, with strict pleasure, only the crème de la crème of the major population. And it is in this aspect, the necessity to be at the very top of the food chain supersedes every other area of our lives, most apparently seen in our conscious dismissal or the abandonment of our individuality. As such, this supposed ‘need’ alone, serves as a more than compelling reason to justify in conclusion, though rather irrationally, that self-preservation takes precedence over all other considerations. But the thing is, we don’t’ have to be the very best, the apex predator of the economic food-chain to be bringing a decent bag of gold home – and that is the truth right there.
Yet, the appalling Yappie Gene still lives in a good majority of us. For whatever reason though. While seemingly pervading in our society innocuously, it is insidious in its nature. Through the elements of competition, plaguing us from the very beginning of our still-growing roots in our youths, instilling the necessity for being top-tier, or the A-grader player. The “bell-curve” system inadvertently places unregulated pressure on students, and their frantic, “Yappie generation” parents as well, because it levels the playing ground for bright and smart students who are already doing so great at all these little ‘markers’ of the education system. Today, being “a little above average” is just not “good enough” now.
Have we learnt nothing at all from school, who preaches about smart education and meaningful phase of life, other than how a Complex Numbers question should be solved and expressed in clear terms? Or is the Higgs-Boson Particle helpful and relevant to everyone else except to those who are actually called to the Particle Physics Department of the Everyone Else Is A Genius University? What has History taught our children, other than to score “points” on the rubrics of examinations, about the various struggles and the oppressions of our ancestors and how we should aspire to not repeat the past? No, we have learnt nothing at all, unless we are being influentially led to our passions and interests all while journeying through a common phase of life – and with that, take risks, many risks, to pursue these interests. And if they are truly inspired and dedicated to their very core, pushed to the very end of road, and yet never backing down just because it is tough, then I say: lesson learnt, risk taken.
Engineering was never my thing. And if I had chosen to take Engineering by my Parent’s unquestioning will (as per the standard of generally most, if not all, Asian parenting model), I would probably hate my time studying something that I have no passion for (while still excelling at it). No, I will definitely hate my time there, not that it is “old boring Engineering” but because it is not what I want to do. Given the liberal autonomy to decide our own fate, go!
Worthy or not to take the risk to ‘jump’, you are the sole author of your own destiny. Do not let your parents (however strict they may be), nor your teachers (however convincing), or your peers (however pressured) or society (however, you know, compelled) push you and drives you to fit into a certain mold that is so-called “beneficial” or “financially successful”. Because clearly, at the very end of the day, in your final few breaths as you take a good look at your very last moment of life, nobody wants to say, “Oh f***, Engineering was a monumental waste. Should have f***ing took Literature. Why, God. Why?”